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December 14, 2017
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2012 Annual Global Conference Report

A strong lineup of speakers and presentation topics drew thousands of supply chain professionals from 38 countries to this year's CSCMP Annual Global Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Participants enjoyed three days of educational seminars along with the "Supply Chain of the Future" exhibition, which showcased cutting-edge supply chain technology, equipment, and services.

Not able to go to the conference this year or unable to get to all of the sessions you would have liked to attend? The following roundup of some of the conference's sessions and events will help you fill in some of those gaps.

Don't forget to mark your calendar for the 2013 Annual Global Conference October 20–23 in Denver, Colorado, USA, where we will celebrate CSCMP's 50th anniversary. (For more information, go to cscmpconference.org.)


CSCMP bestows awards for excellence

CSCMP RECOGNIZED a number of special achievements at its annual conference. Here is a brief rundown of the awards that were presented for excellence in business and academics.

  • The 2012 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Ann M. Drake, chief executive officer and chairman of DSC Logistics. Drake was recognized for her efforts at breaking down barriers for women in the field and for her roles as a leader, a mentor, a pioneer, and ambassador for the logistics and supply chain management professions.
  • Xiang Wan, assistant professor of supply chain management at The University of Tennessee, received the Doctoral Dissertation Award for his research, entitled Product Variety, Service Variety, and Their Impact on Distributors.
  • The Bernard J. La Londe Best Paper Award was given to Brent D. Williams and Matt A. Waller from the University of Arkansas for their article "Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Demand Forecasts: The Value of Shared Point-of-Sale Data in the Retail Supply Chain." The La Londe Award is presented for the most valuable paper in the Journal of Business Logistics.
  • Convermex, Dal-Tile, Transplace, Werner Co., and Whirlpool Corp. received the Supply Chain Innovation Award for their collaborative efforts to consolidate low- and high-density freight across companies onto the same vehicle, reducing costs and demand for transportation resources.

In addition to these awards, CSCMP will be introducing the CSCMP Young Professionals Emerging Leader Award at next year's conference.


New board officers announced

In addition to being an educational event, CSCMP's Annual Global Conference also serves as the association's annual business meeting. As part of those proceedings, members elected the following officers to CSCMP's board of directors:

  • Board of Directors Chair: Rick J. Jackson, executive vice president, Mast Global Logistics Inc., a subsidiary of Limited Brands Inc.
  • Immediate Past Chair: Nancy W. Nix, executive director, EMBA Program and professor of supply chain practice at Texas Christian University
  • Board Chair-elect: Heather L. Sheehan, vice president, indirect sourcing and logistics, Danaher Corp.
  • Board Vice Chair: Ted Stank, Bruce Chair of Business and professor of supply chain management, The University of Tennessee
  • Secretary and Treasurer: Kevin F. Smith, president and chief executive officer, Sustainable Supply Chain Consulting

A list of board members and committee chairs is available here.


CSCMP session sampler

Here are summaries of just some of the nearly 200 educational sessions that sparked interest at the annual conference. CSCMP members can learn more about these and other sessions by downloading the presentation slides from CSCMP's website. Slides are available at the "2012 Session Presentations" section under the "Educational Events" tab. A member log-in is required.

Keynote speakers share wisdom and practical advice
The keynote speakers at the CSCMP Annual Global Conference offered both wit and wisdom, along with plenty of practical advice in presentations that clearly resonated with the audience of logistics and supply chain professionals.

In her October 1 acceptance speech, Ann Drake, the recipient of CSCMP's 2012 Distinguished Service Award, focused on changes in supply chain management and success factors for the future. Drake said the most important changes she has seen in her long career include the recognition by top executives of the importance of logistics and supply chain management; the increasing participation by women in the profession; the growth in importance of global supply chains; and the shift from transactional relationships to long-term strategic relationships with customers. As for the future, she said, success will come to organizations that emphasize intellectual capital, enthusiastically adopt new technologies, and expand relationships up and down the supply chain. In short, "Think big, think new, and think together," she said.

Next up were Arthur Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot and owner of the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons, and Shahid Khan, chief executive officer (CEO) of auto parts maker Flex-N-Gate Corp. and owner of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. In a lively session moderated by Mike Regan, president of Tranzact Technologies, the two executives recounted how they built their companies from the ground up and discussed their philosophies of business innovation and leadership.

Blank, for example, explained how close observation of customers' behavior informed The Home Depot's supply chain and merchandising decisions. He summed up his management philosophy this way: "Hire the best people, give them the resources they need, give them a vision and help them to take the long-term view, imbue them with the company's culture, and give them reason to have pride in the company."

Khan, who rose from an immigrant dishwasher to a CEO, largely focused on people management. In times of economic trouble, he said, "the key resource we have is intellectual capital." During the recession, he noted, his company consolidated operations and found ways to reduce costs while continuing to promote product and process innovation. As a result, Khan said, Flex-N-Gate achieved record sales over the past few years.

On October 2, investor T. Boone Pickens and Andrew Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy Fuels, conducted a wide-ranging discussion on energy, economics, and public policy. Pickens' dry Texas wit and strong opinions were on display as he opined about the presidential candidates' energy policies, the need for energy independence, and alternative fuels for truck fleets. Pickens asserted that the availability of new, more efficient engines and the growing number of natural gas fueling stations would help to bring more fleets into the natural gas fold.

When catastrophe strikes, being "overprepared" pays off
Thinking about the unthinkable can make you uncomfortable, but it's the only way to ensure successful responses when a catastrophe occurs.

That was one piece of advice among many that came out of a session titled "Catastrophic Events: The Ultimate Supply Chain Resiliency Test." Jock Menzies, president of the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), led the discussion about the supply chain stresses inherent in disaster response and recovery.

David Kaufman, director of policy and program analysis at the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), pointed out, "We have a self-interest in the nation's resilience in the face of catastrophic events." In truth, he went on, the top concern isn't really the catastrophic event itself, it's the consequences that follow disasters and create additional, long-term problems.

Some questions teed up by the panel that should give everyone pause:

  • In the absence of power, how do we deliver potable water, or any other essential services or commodities, through the "last tactical mile?"
  • Things cannot return to normal until the private sector restores operations. What, then, does the private sector need from the government to help it get up and running in the wake of a disaster?
  • Nobody likes to consider worst-case scenarios, but what happens if the "maximum of maximums" happens? How will you recover?
  • How can you leverage regional, national, or international size and scale to create effective local response?

Sandra G. Carson, vice president of enterprise risk management and compliance at Sysco, offered this advice: "You've got to be willing to take the criticism for being overprepared, because there is no defense for being underprepared."

U.S. Navy offers lessons for the private sector
As Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command, the U.S. Navy's Rear Admiral Mark Heinrich must deliver supply chain support for "America's Away Team" around the world. With more than 100 ships typically under way at any time, the stakes are high and "mission execution is key," Heinrich said in a session on performance-based logistics.

Heinrich noted that better relationships with suppliers allow the Navy to "perform in a more cost-wise manner." He then offered some advice on building supplier relationships that was based on the Navy's experience. Just three examples:

  • Suppliers' return on assets is a critical parameter, which implies that buyers must carefully consider the term of a contract. "Too short, and companies can't invest. Too long, and you drive out competition."
  • Alignment is about behavior, and that means providing incentives for beneficial results and penalties for inadequate performance. One incentive buyers could use: creating an opportunity for suppliers to make more money if they deliver greater value. Another is to break apart a bundle of business activities, and have the supplier compete for the now separate services.
  • Consistent and transparent governance is important, but the buyer should be careful not to demand an excessive degree of oversight. Insight can easily stray toward intrusion, Heinrich said.

Advice on maximizing your career potential
The subject of career advancement drew a standing-room-only crowd to a session titled "Maximizing Your Career Potential: You Are More in Charge Than You Think." Under the guidance of session moderator (and **italic{Supply Chain Quarterly} columnist) Tim Stratman, senior executives from a third-party logistics company, a manufacturer, and an executive recruiter spoke candidly about their own experiences and offered advice on how attendees could keep their own career plans on track.

Staying at least four or five years in a company is important, but longevity alone is not enough to prove your worth, said Ray Greer, president of BNSF Logistics. It's necessary to stay through a complete business cycle and be able to demonstrate how you managed through it, he said. Greer also recommended being able to correlate what you do with its impact on customer satisfaction, profitability, and company growth.

Building strong relationships internally is critical, said Mike Duffy, Cardinal Health's executive vice president, global manufacturing and supply chain, medical segment. This is particularly important when competing with a colleague for a promotion; you want the mutually supportive relationship to continue regardless of who gets the job. Duffy, who was a supply chain executive at Gillette prior to joining Cardinal, said that moving to a new industry and bringing a different perspective can be very beneficial. But he cautioned against damaging relationships with new colleagues by overlooking or discounting their company- and industry-specific knowledge, or by talking too much about your previous company.

Beware of spending too much time promoting yourself, warned David MacEachern, a partner with the executive search firm Spencer Stuart. "Some people spend more time marketing their careers than managing them," he said. Build a solid foundation of accomplishments, but don't be constantly pestering your superiors for recognition, he advised.

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